Feldon Vets’ Advice on Canine Heart Disease
Some breeds of dogs are predisposed to a certain type of heart disease called dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). There are two phases to DCM; firstly a long “silent” phase, in which the heart has the disease and is slowly deteriorating but there are no outward signs of a problem. Dogs in this first phase appear outwardly healthy and happy.
The second phase is a shorter “overt” phase where the heart can no longer cope and starts to fail. At this point outward signs of the disease start to be seen; dogs can become intolerant of exercise and lethargy, coughing and panting are often experienced.
Researchers have now developed a blood test which measures the levels of a substance called pro-BNP, which is released into the blood stream when the heart muscle stretches excessively, as it does in dogs with DCM. This means that we can routinely test dogs who may be predisposed to this condition; earlier diagnosis and management can help your dog to live a longer and healthier life.
The most susceptible breeds tend to be Dobermans, German Shepherds, Cocker and Springer Spaniels, Irish Setters, Irish Wolfhounds, Saint Bernards, Great Danes and Boxers.
We have sent a letter out to all of our clients with dogs of these breeds who are aged over 3 inviting them to come into the surgery to see a vet and discuss the blood test and any resulting outcomes.
If you would like more information or advice, or to book a blood test, please contact your local surgery or you can download the DCM flyer.
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